Reviewed by: Lauren Rosier
Through hard work, dedication, and perseverance comes great reward. Up and coming Philly area singer/songwriter, Jesse Lopez, has readied his debut LP, UNiVERSE, and delivers a personal account of his struggles with everyday life, including family, love, and relationships.
Lopez welcomes us into his world on the introduction as he raps “welcome to my universe/my thoughts, my pain, and my lessons learned/I made this record with no record deal/no financial support, so you know that every word is real” and then notes “I’m not a rapper or a singer/I’m an artist with a vision and a plan.”
The first full song, “Grind”, is a solid, infectious track that pulls together various elements of pop, R&B, and dance music. The result blends heavy bass lines, infectious R&B grooves, and guitars paired with Lopez’s inspirational lyrics illustrating his hard work and dedication to his music.
Perhaps the most radio-friendly song of the album is the track “In the Middle”. It screams late 90’s to early 2000’s pop/R&B with a modern sound that could appeal to many of today’s Top 40 listeners.
Gentle guitars and thunderous drums open the track “Take Me Home” with a bang. Lopez vows to “brave the storms that rage inside me” and breaks into an infectious chorus reminiscent of early All-American Rejects. “Heroes” also pulls from the pop punk subgenre and opens in a huge way with its epic guitars that foreshadow a song with a terrific message.
On “Open Letter”, Lopez delivers one of the most emotional tracks on the record, that focuses melds classy hip-hop beats with raw lyricism. He emotionally raps about his personal account of growing up without his father and how that has psychologically had an impact on his life.
Jesse Lopez creates a promising 12-song collection of diarist lyrics and contagious pop/R&B on his debut record, UNiVERSE. The record showcases his true artistry, both musically and lyrically, and proves to us that hard work and ambition can yield solid results.